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MBC’s Kim Gun-hee transcript is also hotly debated


Last weekend, viewers’ attention was focused on MBC’s current affairs program ‘Exploration Planning Straight’. On the afternoon of the 16th, part of the ‘7-hour call’ between Yoon Seok-yeol, the spouse of the presidential candidate for People’s Strength, Kim Geon-hee, and Lee Myung-soo, a reporter for Seoul’s Voice, was revealed on the main broadcast on the afternoon of the 16th. The transcript of the call contained the conversation between Mr. Kim and reporter Lee from July to December of last year. After the MBC report, Voice of Seoul sequentially released recordings of calls, and the controversy continues.

There are several evaluations of this MBC report from the perspective of reporting ethics. The question is whether it is worth reporting. MBC broadcasting got on the air on the 14th when the court cited only a part of Kim’s application for injunction to block the broadcast.

▲ Transcripts of Kim Geon-hee and Lee Myung-soo, reporters from Seoul’s Voice, broadcast on MBC Straight on the night of the 16th. Photo = MBC news capture

Although the court decided to ban the broadcast of remarks related to the investigation involving Kim, “Kim is a public figure receiving public attention through the media as the spouse of presidential candidate Yoon Seok-yeol, and Kim’s views on social issues or political views are not It is a matter of public interest,” he said. MBC reports that there is no legal problem.

Concerns related to reporting ethics, not the law, are still unresolved. Jwa Young-gil, head of the legal team at Herald Economics, said in a phone call on the 17th, “Reporters do not write all the stories they hear in private.” “There is a big wall between reporters’ information collection and reporting area. We need to reflect,” he said. It is argued that it cannot be regarded as an investigative report that the program advocates in that it burns the provided call recordings on terrestrial radio waves, not the results of direct coverage by the MBC reporter.

Team leader Left said, “There is a clear difference in quality between the British Guardian and the newsstands’ articles on The Sun. If MBC were a major press, they should have been more careful. Even if the court did not ban the broadcast, it does not immediately create newsworthy value that was not due to a court decision.”

In the Herald Economics column, the left team leader said, “Isn’t it just a response to a kind of voyeuristic demand that was triggered by curiosity about a specific person’s call history? He would have wanted to influence the election with ‘plus alpha’.” He said, “The biggest difference between the one-person media and the established media is whether the system that filters out coverage works properly. The fact that terrestrial broadcasters gave up ‘gatekeeping’ deserves criticism,” he pointed out.

▲ January 17, 2021 column by Jwa Young-gil, reporter for the Herald Economics.
▲ January 17, 2021 column by Jwa Young-gil, reporter for the Herald Economics.

On the other hand, there are also evaluations that the MBC report is full of trouble. A reporter who worked for a news agency for 30 years said, “I think it was good that MBC chose to deliver it as it is without adding any interpretation. If he had revealed a specific point of view from the beginning, it would have acted as a factor in hindering viewers’ judgment.”

Reporter Lee said, “It is wrong to define a reporter’s phone call with Kim Kun-hee as only a ‘private call’. If candidate Yoon Seok-yeol is elected, the second affiliated office of the Blue House will serve as official assistant to Mr. Kim, and verification of Mr. Kim is absolutely necessary. It cannot be concluded that it is worthless to show the contents of the call as it is after verifying that the provided transcript has not been edited and that the purpose of the report is in the public interest.”

Jun-woong Lee, a professor of journalism and information science at Seoul National University, said, “It is the tradition of the Korean media that reports about public officials and their families are harsh. The MBC report means that it is valuable as a verification report on the family of public officials.

Recorded reports can be reported, but some have pointed out that MBC’s own additional coverage is necessary. Kim Min-ha, a current affairs critic and former editor-in-chief of Internet media Medias, said, “It was difficult to understand the context in which Kim’s remarks came from and what problems he had by looking only at the MBC reports. It may have been possible to use the audio recording as a basis for supporting the allegation of spousal involvement raised by some behind the scenes.”

Then, Kim said, “When viewers have such a format, they’ll think, ‘That’s why Kim’s remarks are a problem’, but MBC reported that we released the transcript, so viewers should judge it.” It should not be an end, it should have been used only as a means.”

▲ On December 26, last year, a citizen watched on TV as Mr. Kun-hee Kim apologized to the public.  ⓒYonhap News
▲ On December 26, last year, a citizen watched on TV as Mr. Kun-hee Kim apologized to the public. ⓒYonhap News

Kang Hyung-cheol, a professor of media at Sookmyung Women’s University, said, “It was a very disappointing report. MBC should have properly covered Kim and Yun Seok-yeol’s camp based on the call recording and then reported it while conveying the context of Kim’s remarks. Professor Kang asked, “Is there any essential difference between the sound of Seoul recording and the release of recordings on YouTube?” and then criticized, saying, “There is no difference between quotes and journalism.”

It is also pointed out that ‘deception coverage’ needs to be considered about the method of reporting on the voice of Seoul. It is true that Lee Myung-soo, a reporter for Seoul’s Voice of Voice, revealed his reporter identity to Kim and contacted him, but it is pointed out that it cannot be regarded as a general reporting activity in that the two exchanged necessary information and destroyed the ‘reporter-reporter’ relationship by themselves.

Shim Seok-tae, a professor at Semyung University’s Graduate School of Journalism, who served as the head of the SBS news department, said, “The reporter asks Kim for information and goes to lectures, which is a departure from the normal reporter-reporter relationship. It is a pity that it is defined and played on the air as it is,” he said.

Professor Shim said, “Reporters need to let the other party know that I am reporting.” “If it is acceptable in the name of journalism to break the vigilance of the other person in a private relationship and to reveal the contents after asking questions, who will meet the reporter? Are you going to do it?” he said. It is pointed out that deception and trap coverage should be kept to a minimum for public interest purposes.

▲ Yun Seok-yeol, the spouse of the People's Power presidential candidate, Kim Kun-hee.  ⓒYonhap News
▲ Yun Seok-yeol, the spouse of the People’s Power presidential candidate, Kim Kun-hee. ⓒYonhap News

On the other hand, in an interview with OhmyNews, reporter Lee Myung-soo said, “The reporter (Kim Geon-hee) wanted to call me older sister and younger brother, so I naturally accepted it.” I didn’t eat it, do it with my older sister,’ so I ended up saying it as my older sister. He said, “I only call her by name, my older sister, but I called her more than 50 times and asked and answered questions.” The intention is that the relationship between reporters and reporters has not been broken.

The Voice of Seoul posted on its website on the 18th, “As the people claim, Kim Geon-hee did not fall into this reporter’s trap, but this reporter voluntarily fell into Kim Gun-hee’s trap.” Kim Geon-hee, who needed sound information, and the Yoon Seok-yeol family, who wanted to know their own world, had the same interests.”

He added, “This reporter, who felt even afraid of Kim’s dangerous way of thinking and worldview, had to go through severe psychological conflict over the sweet temptation that Kim threw and the reporter’s sense of duty to inform the world of the absurd values ​​of the Yoon Seok-yeol family.” “In the end, as a member of the Joseon Dynasty, as a reporter, I decided to publish the transcript, risking the unpredictable risk of retaliation for the future of the country and people without abandoning my sense of duty.”

There is also a public opinion that takes issue with the bias of MBC’s reporting. Kang Joon-man, professor emeritus of the Department of Journalism and Broadcasting at Chonbuk National University, said in a column of the Joongbu Ilbo on the 18th, “Even if it’s not MBC, the transcripts will be broadcast by other media anyway. Do I have to jump into a role?” and “The democratization of broadcasting is not on the side of the progressives. Conservatives are not something that must be won or liquidated.”

▲ MBC Straight reporter Jang In-soo appeared on MBC radio's 'Kim Jong-bae's Focus' on the 17th and said,
▲ MBC Straight reporter Jang In-soo appeared on MBC radio’s ‘Kim Jong-bae’s Focus’ on the 17th and said, “It is worth reporting because it is the first time that Kim Geon-hee has clarified her suspicions through her voiceover.” Photo = Captured from MBC Radio YouTube screen

On the 17th, MBC Straight reporter Jang In-soo appeared on MBC radio ‘Kim Jong-bae’s Focus’ on the 17th and said, “It is quite worth reporting because it is the first time that Kim Geon-hee has clarified her suspicions through her voice.” “The conversation Kim has with this reporter” In between, there is a fairly distorted view of our society. That’s what the #MeToo-related remarks are.” It is said that the release of the recording has newsworthy value.

In the transcript of the call, Kim was actively defending former Chungnam Governor Ahn Hee-jeong, who was serving a sentence after being convicted of sexual assault.

While Kim’s inappropriate remarks, which can hurt victims, are being criticized by public opinion, lawyer Eun-e Lee, a sex crime specialist, aimed at MBC’s report in an interview with the Hankook Ilbo, saying, “I wanted to show how much gender consciousness the candidate’s spouse has, but each camp “In the end, it only increased the gossip of those who attack the (sexual violence) victims, and did not hurt and burden the victims,” ​​he pointed out.

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